Review: 2006 Hugel Pinot Gris Classic Alsace

Now featuring label artwork by Ralph Steadman, this is not your father’s Hugel, the wine with the iconic yellow label. Tart with minerals up front, Hugel’s Pinot Griss “Classic” is light in body and reveals peach, mango, and vaguely tropical notes before fading into a more alcohol-driven, lightly bitter finish. Otherwise it’s an easy-drinking summer…

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Review: Cordina Mar-Go-Rita Wine Cocktail

The mercury has topped 90 in San Francisco today, and in a city with no air conditioning, that means retreating to whatever means necessary one can dig up to stay cool. Cordina’s goofily-named Mar-Go-Rita has been in my freezer for weeks, so what better time than now to bust it out. What is it? Imagine…

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Review: BlackBeard Spiced Rum

Rum — especially spiced rum — is on the rise again, and BlackBeard is the latest, a Puerto Rican rum being imported by Don Q’s parent company. BlackBeard offers aromas not of the spice box but rather of a traditional aged rum, with strong caramel, some wood, and toffee notes. This continues into the body.…

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Review: Jim Beam Black Double Aged Bourbon 8 Years Old

I’m on record as saying that Jim Beam is one of the most underrated bourbons on the market. It’s not just a quality product, it’s also dirt cheap, and even its higher-end products, like Distillers Series, are crazy inexpensive. As the label notes, Jim Beam’s new Black Label is “double aged” — double the age…

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Review: 3 Wines from Santorini, 2010 Releases

Whatever you do, do not ask me how to pronounce any of these wines. Santorini is a tiny Greek island in the Aegean Sea, 120 miles from the mainland. Turns out they grow a lot of grapes there, and naturally they make wine from them. Assyrtiko is the main grape here, and it is found…

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Review: Effen Vodka

A staple of the high-end bar scene (and even available at most dives), Effen is distilled from wheat in Holland and bottled at 80 proof. All pretty standard stuff, and Effen is indeed a fairly straightforward vodka. Grainy and a bit medicinal on the nose and on the tongue, it offers a moderately long finish…

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Review: 2007 Tenuta Rapitala Nuar Sicilia

An interesting blend from Sicily, Tenuta Rapitala’s Nuar is 70 percent Nero d’Avola and 30 percent Pinot Noir (aka Pinot Nero). There’s a distinct coffee nose, with wood and smoky hints. The body is moderate but flavorful, with intense blueberry/blackberry character and chocolate notes. Another touch of coffee on the finish. It’s almost criminal that…

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Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheated Bourbon (2010)

The good folks at Heaven Hill’s Parker’s continue their annual bourbon blowout with this 4th edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection, a 10-year-old wheated mashbill whiskey, bottled at cask strength. (That strength will vary, but in the case of my sample, that’s 127.8 proof.) Last year’s Golden Anniversary bourbon was hot but full of gorgeous fruit…

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